Ad Spending Surpasses Pre-Recession Numbers of $109B

When the recession hit America with a huge thud, big business began to reconsider its residual income and closed up the budgets. Of course this hurt advertising agencies in a big way and many experts thought they would never recover, but this article from AdAge seems to contradict the naysayers once and for all.

Total spending among the 100 Leading National Advertisers (LNA) reached a record $108.6 billion in 2013, passing the previous spending peak set in pre-recession 2007.

Quick, call your clients…


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

WPP Will Double Its Spending Budget on Twitter in 2014

In another headline from Cannes-Lions, WPP Grand Poobah Sir Martin Sorrell told the world that he will double ad spending on “The Twitter” (as he may have called it) from $50 million to $100 million.

The news was announced when Sorrell moderated a discussion between Twitter’s Dick Costolo and Viacom’s Philippe Dauman. Of course he took a jab at rivals Omnicom and Publicis for their recent ill-fated “merger of equals,” but he focused mainly on the differences and commonalities between digital-first and the legacy media giants.

After citing the impressive market valuations and financial stats associated with Twitter’s recent IPO, Sorrell noted that WPP’s GroupM will double its spending with the microblogging platform, boosting its ad spending from $50 million last year to $100 million this year. Based on Sorrell’s figures, that means GroupM contributes nearly a fifth of all of Twitter’s advertising revenues.

Now what would you do with that kind of budget? Maybe not spend it all on Twitter?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Lingerie Celebrates Japan’s Plan to Stimulate Growth

Triumph, a marvelously named Swiss-owned women’s clothier in Japan, has unveiled its annual concept bra, which might just be the first economics-themed lingerie. The Abenomics Bra, named after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's “three arrow” economic plan to achieve 2 percent inflation, aims to grow bust sizes with 2 percent extra padding. The golden bra features ceremonial Shinto arrows and is paired with a skirt adorned with a target. According to Triumph’s lovely model in the video below, “If a woman thinks she looks beautiful, she will work harder. And that will surely increase inflation and boost the economy. Right?” I’m sure there’s some evidence that attractive bras stimulate growth, but it's probably not the kind Prime Minister Abe is aiming for.


Sacred Economics

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Over the course of history, human welfare has transformed from an economy of gifts to an economy of commodities. In his new book, Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein explores how we can realign towards the humanity-based economy.


A Shift in Consciousness

It’s not that hard.

From Adbusters Blog

The status quo has us at each other’s throats. Mainstream economics sees this as the social ideal. More for you is less for me. Antagonism keeps the cash flowing. Maximize each moment lest someone else gain the market advantage on you. This sounds miserable, and it is, and yet it remains the system that most of us live every day. It’s time for a new model. Occupy economics reaches to a much more historical and spiritual precept. An idea rooted in the concept of love and cooperation: that more for you is more for me. Author of Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein, explains Occupy’s new logic of the heart.

Stream Sacred Economics short film in its entirety on March 1.

Capitalism on the brink

See video

Today’s global economic realities reveal deep fissures within mainstream economic theory. Could this be the swansong of global capitalism or the beginning of an even more aggressive phase of neo-classical economics?

Occupied Economy

A brief history of the first corporate century.

Carl Safina

From Adbusters #100: Are We Happy Yet?

Occupied Economy


This morning I was pulling poison ivy. It looked like I was up against the withering prospect of pulling more than a hundred individual plants. But I found that if I dug my gloved finger to the root and gently tugged, I could trace it through other roots and stems in my neglected garden, then fairly easily zip out whole tracts of the stuff. Without pulling a single individual plant, tugging up the root dislodged all the ones I could see and a lot that I hadn’t seen in the tangle of vegetation. When I was a teen I yearned to travel America to see “how other people live.” Now, basically, you can see how they live from wherever you happen to be. The same advertising, the same chain stores, and the same TV, radio and print conglomerates have largely replaced America with the same repeating road-stop strip mall, from sea to shining sea. Everyone’s head throbs with the same songs, and young people “relate to” the same handful of company logos and media characters. Corporate “news” reports on how the actual people who play fictional characters are faring in their reproduction and rehab. As I was freeing my American garden from toxic infestations, my mind drifted to the image of the chain stores along a highway, each strip mall a sprig of leaves, connected by an unseen cable of root. I imagined that I was driving cross-country on a big interstate highway, pulling up chain stores as I went along, helping free up a land strangling in a rash of sameness.

Modern corporations were essentially illegal at the founding of the United States (the colonists had had enough of British corporations). In the new country, corporations could form, raise public capital, and share profits with stockholders only for specified activities that benefited the public, such as constructing roads or canals. Corporate licenses were temporary. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, lawmaking, public policy, or civil life. Imagine.

But from the beginning, corporate-minded men chafed for power, prompting Thomas Jefferson to write in 1816, “I hope we shall … crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

For the first century after the American Revolution, legislators maintained control of the corporate chartering process. Then they essentially lost it as a series of court decisions established corporate “rights” and corporate “personhood.” These laws have been catastrophic for democracy, with planetary implications.

Corporate globalization has been called “the most fundamental redesign of social, economic, and political arrangements since the Industrial Revolution.” Corporations have swept real economic and political power away from governments. Of the hundred wealthiest countries and corporations listed together, more than half are corporations. ExxonMobil is richer than 180 countries – and there are only about 195 countries. Without the responsibilities or costs of nationhood, corporations can innovate and produce at unprecedented speed and scale. Yet they can also undertake acts of enormous environmental destruction and report a profit.

The behavior of corporations arises from their wide freedom of action and their limited liability for harms caused. Further, shareholders “own” and profit by the corporation, but “limited liability” means shareholders can lose no more than the money invested; they aren’t held responsible for anything the corporation does. If they were, stockholders might know what companies they “own” and why. They might demand corporate responsibility. They might invest more carefully. But because they’re not, they don’t.

Further, if a corporation can make a larger profit by wrecking a community, the law says it must. Perhaps the most famous case in corporate law was decided in the Supreme Court of Michigan in 1919 when Henry Ford got sued by the Dodge brothers (yes, those Dodge brothers). Ford wanted to plow profits back into the company and its employees. “My ambition is to employ still more men,” the New York Times quoted Ford as saying, “to spread the benefits of this industrial system to the greatest possible number, to help them build up their lives and homes. To do this we are putting the greatest share of our profits back in the business.” The judges posed a short question: What is a corporation for? The judges answered themselves by saying corporations are “primarily for the profit of the stockholders.” Not for the benefit of employees or community. Corporate managers – regardless of personal scruples or desire to “do good” – are forced to always put profits first.


The profit-maximization imperative creates continuous pressure to dump waste in the public commons and to shift the resulting costs to the public through subsidies, tax-funded pollution cleanups, and such. Where dumping waste is illegal, corporations may be fined for violations. Such fines often become “a cost of doing business,” while shareholders know that corporations never get sent to jail, and that some are “too big (to be allowed) to fail.” To the extent that governmental regulations get annoying, corporate appetites engulf those too, backing and basically installing cooperative elected officials, then coercing the removal of regulatory “barriers” (formerly: “public protections”).

However, we can envision how a more public-minded government might deal with risk-prone corporations. In Wold War II, the US government seized control of certain German companies inside the United States. Obviously, it wouldn’t do to have German chemical plants on American soil while we were engulfed in war with Germany. The companies were not destroyed, just controlled by the government for a while; some still exist. When U.S. automakers got into serious trouble and went into bankruptcy in 2009, the federal government stepped in to control management for a while. These weren’t punitive moves exactly, but one can imagine ways in which corporations acting as bad citizens might have to do some time with, say, their stocks frozen – no trading, maybe – while a government of the people does a little potty training with the executives.

In real life as we know it, the profit-maximization imperative means that any company seeking to act responsibly incurs a competitive disadvantage. The implications are generally a cascade of catastrophes because essentially all the money in the world is thus under pressure to act irresponsibly. Any other impulse must buck that tide.

The corporations’ central tenet of faith, their object of worship, their grail and their gruel: growth. Growth fueled by continually unearthing new resources and cheaper labor. Growth fed by raising and fattening new consumers. Growth had historically resulted from technical progress and growing population. It became a central pursuit of government policy mainly after World War II.

But Planet Earth cannot grow. Not any faster than it accumulates stardust, anyway. If the economy “grows” while resources like water, forest, and fish are being depleted, it’s not growth: it’s just blowing more bubbles. Yet because our economic system shows unconditional love for growth, it doesn’t ring alarm bells over bubbles. But count on this: the bigger the bubble, the worse the burst.

The first corporate century, the 20th, was a period of explosive growth. Despite as many as 150 million human beings killed in warfare between 1900 and Y2K, the world population quadrupled. Energy use increased sixteen-fold. The fish catch – which peaked in the late 1980s – increased thirty-fold. The sheer amount of stuff used annually flies in flocks of zeros that defy comprehension: 275,000,000 tons of meat, 370,000,000 tons of paper product, et cetera. Incredibly, of all the earthly materials that human hands have ever transformed, fully half of that material transformation has occurred since World War II.

“It is impossible for the world economy to grow its way out of poverty and environmental degradation,” writes the resource-minded economist Herman Daly, because the economy is a “subsystem of the earth ecosystem, which is finite, non-growing and materially closed.”

And economists think the solution to our problems is more growth? We’ve been terribly misled. But more development – that’s a different proposition. “Grow” means to increase in size by adding. "Develop" means to realize potentials, to make better.

Because the world is pretty much fully tapped, growth now threatens development. In a postgrowth world, we’d measure things like community and satisfaction. We’d replace the feverish tail chase of the material with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those come from development, not from growth. Let’s not confuse the two.

During challenging ocean conditions, certain sea jellies “de-grow.” They don’t just lose fat or slim down; they actually lose cells and simplify structures. When times are good, they regrow. Because they are adding new cells and regrowing structures (not just replumping), they are actually rejuvenated – younger than they were. On the other end of the scale, Edward Abbey long ago observed that growth for the sake of continuous growth is the strategy of cancer. Knowing what we now know, it appears that the world can’t produce enough to grow our way out of poverty. But we could certainly shrink our way out.

Carl Safina is a MacArthur fellow and host of the PBS television show Saving the Ocean. This essay originally appeared in his book The View From Lazy Point.

Wild Singularity

The moment we cannot escape.

Shane Adair

From Adbusters #98: American Autumn

Spooky, the cat

Spooky was a wild black cat with yellow eyes. She was taken off a farm and given to my older sister as a gift. I remember thinking about her all day at school. My brother and I would run home after school to play with Spooky. We trained her right from the beginning. We would wrestle with her and get her riled up. Then she would grab a hold of our arms and bite us. As time went on her jaw got stronger.

One game we played with her was called “Barry in the Backfield.” This game consisted of two players. I was on one team and my younger brother was my opponent. Spooky was a neutral player. She was the all time running back and I was the quarterback. My brother kneeled across from us as a defender. Then I would say,

“Blue forty-two, blue forty-two, set hut.”

And I’d turn around and set Spooky on the floor. As soon as she hit the floor she’d take off around me and attempt to run around my brother. If my brother were able to tackle Spooky, I would get no points. If Spooky ran around my brother and off somewhere, I would get seven points. I don’t think we ever finished a game.

My older brother had his own way of training Spooky. He would hold a towel perpendicular to the floor, and Spooky would run at the towel. As she got close to the towel she would jump and clench her jaw into the towel. After some time she learned to lock her jaw into the towel and hang. My brother would shake the towel and try to make her fall, but she wouldn’t.

One gray and rainy day our family sat around the living room watching television. All of a sudden we heard this loud high-pitched shriek come from upstairs. It sounded like a girl in a horror movie walking into a room to find a bloodied corpse on the floor. Concerned, we yelled up the stairs to make sure sister was all right.

“Tina, what happened? Are you all right?’

“No. Someone come get this cat.”

My brothers and I ran upstairs. We walked into the bathroom and saw sister wrapped in a towel. Spooky had her claws dug into the towel and was climbing up our sister.

My older brother said, “Thataway Spooky. She’s learning.”

“She sure is,” I said.

“Get her off of me.”

“Okay, okay.”

We got her off of sister and brought her downstairs to the living room. My brothers and I laughed.

Spooky continued to grow until she was full-grown. When she stopped growing she was quite the cat. She looked like a miniature panther. She was large and very muscular. When she walked you could see her different muscles flexing.

At one point in time I believe our teachers began to worry about us. My younger brother and I would show up to school with a new scratch on our faces everyday. The worst one was on my younger brother. Spooky got him right under the eye and all the way down to his chin. He was lucky she didn’t get his eye.

After some time of getting beat up we began to learn. We learned we had to carry a blanket and a pillow. First you hit Spooky with the pillow then you threw the blanket on top. That gave you just enough time to get away. Every morning when I woke I’d grab my pillow and blanket. Then I’d crack the door open and look both ways to see if Spooky was around. If I didn’t see her, I’d run as fast as I could up the stairs and she’d dart out of some corner and chase me. When I got to the top of the stairs I’d slam the door and lock it. Spooky’s head would bounce off the door, then her paws would reach under. If she was there waiting right outside of the door, I’d have to use the pillow and blanket.

In the summertime the weather would be very hot and humid. And when there was nothing else to do, my younger brother, a friend and I would come looking for Spooky. She was the biggest and toughest cat in the neighborhood. She was usually good for some entertainment. One time the three of us were messing around one way or another when I heard loud hissing and growling. I ran around to the side of the house to see Spooky and another cat squaring off.

“Kevin, Larry, hurry up.”

They ran around to the side of the house, and the three of us began cheering Spooky on.

“Get her Spooky, get her.”

The two cats stood facing each other growling and hissing. After a minute or two the other cat tried to run around Spooky. When the cat got to Spooky’s side, Spooky pounced on her and got a hold of her neck. Her jaw clenched and locked. It was just like the towel drill. The other cat shook and tried to whip Spooky loose, but she wouldn’t budge. Her jaw was locked, and the rest of her body whipped back and forth like a flag. We saw blood start to gush out of the neck, and then Spooky let her go. The other cat wobbled off scraggily and Spooky watched her closely.

The following year Spooky got into many fights. If we heard the hissing and growling sound, we knew what was happening. She got us through some very slow times. Then one day she came home and didn’t look so good. A chunk of her head was bitten off and her eye was all bloodshot. A new cat was in the neighborhood, and this cat was twice the size of Spooky and twice as tough. For a long time Spooky was the biggest and toughest cat in the neighborhood. But shortly after she got beaten up, we never saw Spooky again.

Engineered Inequality

“Winner Take All Politics” authors Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson discuss Washington’s preoccupation with the economic concerns of the 1% at the expense of the rest.

Robin Hood Tax Gains Traction

US and UK still the holdouts.

From Adbusters Blog

As Occupy gears up for the American Spring, our European counterparts will soon have one OWS victory to put in their cap. In France this past week, lawmakers put their backing behind a bill for a Robin Hood (Tobin) Tax. The tax, a fraction of a percent on all derivative, currency and securities transactions, will equate to billions of dollars for social programs (at a nominal cost to the markets) and will reign in the worst elements of speculative trading in Europe.

This marks the long beginning of the necessary radical shift in the economic paradigm of our age. Germany and the Eurozone states are already on board, leaving only the U.K. and the U.S. defending unbridled neo-conservative free market gains.

For all of us this side of the Atlantic, the obvious question is: why not a Tobin Tax here?

When the G8 meets in Chicago this May, lets make sure that Occupy is there to greet them with a demand for Robin Hood.

(Reuters) – France wants to target bonds and derivatives, as well as stocks, with a new tax on financial transactions which the conservative government hopes to introduce before an April presidential election, Finance Minister Francois Baroin said on Tuesday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government is keen to push ahead with a “Tobin tax” even without its European Union partners …

Read the entire article:…

Ireland’s 99% left holding the bag

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Once a rising star in the industrialized world, Ireland now has the highest per capita national debt in the world – a debt to be paid by the people, not the 1% behind the crash.

Read more at Al Jazeera:…

The top 1%

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With 1% of Americans controlling 40% of the country’s wealth, Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines examines the gap between the rich and the rest.

Sweet Love Triangle: Cadbury, Hershey’s, and Kraft

Love TriangleIt’s a classic love triangle: The wealthy Kraft wants British beauty Cadbury. Cadbury, however, wants Hershey’s, the poor, yet perfectly sweet option. Hershey’s is of a lower financial capability than the domineering Kraft and is reluctant to make a move, though it knows the two make an ideal pair. So it goes for the two U.S. food makers and the international sweetheart Cadbury.

The drama began in September when Kraft slipped an unsolicited note to Cadbury, making it a marriage offer for $16.7 billion. Cadbury, being of higher standards, immediately rejected it. Hershey’s also wanted Cadbury’s hand, but being of a lower income bracket, the company struggled to gather the funding necessary to support the lifestyle of the demanding Cadbury. After Kraft’s shameless act of domination, Cadbury’s parents, the U.K. Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, had a nice chat with their daughter and decided to set a dueling date for the two contenders: November. The two must make a reasonable and honorable proposition by then or leave empty handed.

For Kraft, the challenge is obvious: They must open themselves up and make a smart, honest proposal for Cadbury’s hand. Doing so would boost their shares in the food-making industry to compete with the biggest and baddest of the land, Nestle. Hershey’s, on the other hand, is the hard-working visionary who is merely after the one he loves. Cadbury would open up an international market for the American-born company and offer pathways into Europe. After last year’s heartbreak from the girl next door, Wrigley, and her marriage to Mars, Inc. (creating the world’s largest sweets company), Hershey’s has done its best to put itself together and move onto to other options.

Hershey’s is doing all it can to make the right move on Cadbury; the former even hired advisors to assist in exploring the bid for marriage. Marrying Cadbury would ensure the continuation of the boarding school for low-income children, which Hershey’s is currently running, so the stakes are high. Kraft, however, is a financial wiz and hopes to capitalize on the devaluation of the British pound during the deadline time, thus being able to bid lower and still come out on top.

Tensions are high, and the suspense rises daily. Hopefully, love will conquer all, and they’ll live happily ever after.

Rena Prizant is a Copywriter, Ad Creative, SEO Gal, and mammal in the Chicago area. Visit or @WriteLeft.

Advertising is Irrelevant?

noAdsHeeAdWeek and Harris recently released a poll asking those not involved in the advertising trade what they thought of advertising’s “relevancy.”

The results show that most find that our jobs, as a whole, are rather irrelevant.

Advertising’s down, no doubt, and now Adweek’s heaping salt on the wound!

Well, Mr. and Mrs. America, let’s look at a life without advertising. A life of relevance.

TV staticFirst of all, without advertising, we would not have free access to television. Advertisers in essence pay for the shows we watch by running commercials. By the same logic, the web in that state would not be as comprehensive as the one we experience now. Radio would be a paid service with subscribers. Programs and shows with relatively lower ratings would be immediately slashed since they would no longer be able to support themselves.

The cultural art form of advertising would be lost.  The circle of life would be disrupted.  Just as life influences advertising, ads influence culture.

Without advertising, creatives would be cubicle-bound and non-imaginative. Serious. Boring. Sex would not sell, and neither would honesty. No one would fight for the cause. PETA would consist of two guys fighting for animal rights, and no one would care. Animals wouldn’t be cool to wear. Or not wear. Or own.  Times Square would be dimly lit. Your favorite beer would be just “BEER,” as the term ‘generic’ would dominate store shelves. Color would be sparse. Trendsetters would be trend-less. No brands, no logos, no icons or spokespeople. No sexy models, sexy shows, or suggestive commercials. We wouldn’t know who to vote for, or why. Four hour erections? Who’d need the pills, let alone use them? No body-image, no silicone implants, no tummy-tucks. No Jon & Kate. Michael Jackson would just be another singer. No Hollywood trailers, stars, starlets, tramps, red carpets, or blockbuster openings. No E! TV, no TMZ. No Paris, Lindsay, Nicole, or reality TV. No Tila Tequila.

No PSA’s warning that your brain on drugs was scrambled. Or that kids shouldn’t smoke crack and that crack kills. Rather than axing the marketing budget first, corporations would axe employees. And that would be just fine, because there would be no PR effort, no big news story, therefore no downside.

Life would go on, but it would be bland and tasteless. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace: no need for them.

Take a picture of the Cold War-era Russia and apply it to a life without advertising. Cold. Drizzling. Muddled.

The link to this study is now unavailable.  Was the issue so unimportant that Adweek pulled the article? Or was the study published on the wrong day?

Luckily, I printed it:

In an AdweekMedia/Harris Poll last month, respondents were given a chance to say they don’t feel strongly about the industry one way or another, and nearly half of them took it. Asked to characterize their overall impression of “the advertising industry in general,” 47 percent said it’s “neither negative nor positive.” Predictably, those with a negative view of the business (9 percent “very,” 28 percent “somewhat”) outnumbered those with a positive view (2 percent “very,” 15 percent “somewhat”). (The total exceeds 100 percent due to rounding.)

If such numbers count as not-so-bad news for the ad business, responses were less positive on the question of whether consumers find advertising relevant to their lives (”By relevant,” Harris told respondents, “we mean how it connects to things that are ongoing in your daily life”). Given the effort put into aiming the right ad at the right target, the numbers here were pretty lackluster. Eight percent of respondents said advertising is “very relevant” to their lives, and 42 percent said it’s “somewhat relevant.” Thirty-two percent termed it “not that relevant” and 14 percent “not at all relevant,” with the rest unsure.

Can you say “OUCH!”?

Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Account Coordinator. His passion is writing. Reach out and touch him: or

Self-fulfilling Economy?

graph1As Americans, there is a love/hate relationship that exists with the media due to one of two things: over portrayal (senseless beating to death of a subject) or non-portrayal (glossing over a story to move on) of news. Both tend to upset the news-hungry public, but over portrayal nears that point where news becomes culture for a short time. A couple of examples: Octo-Mom, Jon & Kate Gosselin, LiLo’s drug rehab, relapse, rehab, and relapse.

Yes, these are “celebrity” examples, but unfortunately, it happens with the “real” news as well. Take for instance the automotive and banking bailouts. The fall of Fannie May and Freddie Mac. Bernie Madhoff. How many times did news anchors need to go over the fact that the Chairmen for the Detroit automakers flew in private jets to the Senate Subcommittee hearings? Definitely not 10,000.

The same holds true for the advertising industry, and yes, the economy. Yesterday, June 8, 2009, AdWeek ran a story encompassing a RSW/US survey of 200 marketing and 100 ad agency execs. (RSW/US is a lead generation and business development firm.) The survey showed that agencies were more optimistic than prospective clients regarding the economy and the advertising business for the remainder of the year.

Agencies participating in the survey, released in mid-May, included Leo Burnett, Mindshare and Bailey Lauerman. Clients included Ford, GE, Kraft, Lego and Lenox. While 51 percent of each group said that the second half of the year would see at least some continued falls in ad spending, more agency respondents (42 percent) felt the economy had already hit rock bottom and would therefore start to improve over the rest of the year than clients (35 percent).

Seventy-six percent of agencies felt that the number of new business opportunities would rise in Q3 and Q4 of 2009. absolutmayhem

Today, Media Life reports that Q1 2009 spending was beyond horrid. Like someone couldn’t have pulled their head out of their #$$ to figure that one out. At this juncture, it is safe to assume that corporations have cut back, or totally scrapped, their advertising spend for 2009. If this is not clear to everyone, please ask your neighbor to explain it to you. The point being? No one really knows what will happen yet, or how the economy is really doing. There are educated guesses on how far down the auto industry will take the nation, but it’s still just a guess. Is respite coming quickly? No one truly knows. Thus, the time for speculation is over, and if there is to be some haphazard guessing, please don’t print it in a magazine.

Today, Media Life reported the following:

  • Ad spending plummeted 12 percent during first quarter
  • Total first-quarter ad expenditures off $3.8 billion
  • Local Sunday supplements, biggest spending dip, off 37.7 percent
  • Thirteen of nineteen media tracked saw double-digit declines
  • Spot TV down 28.9 percent
  • National magazines dropped 20.6 percent
  • Local newspapers fell 14.3 percent; spot radio was off 9 percent
  • Online dropped 3.4 percent (not including search)
  • Network TV, the largest category, was off 4.8 percent
  • Automotive spend fell 27.7 percent, or $723 million
  • The single category that did do well? Quick-serve restaurants. Hey, depression causes the munchies!

    Unless there’s an answer to this debacle forthcoming, there’s just no reason to report or talk about this subject anymore. Let it go and move on to something else.

    Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Coordinator. His passion is writing, contributing to BMA as well as freelancing. He’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment or follow the links: or

    My Ad Can Kick Your Ad’s Ass!

    With the Summer heating up, and the economy moving like sluggish sewage in July, Advertising Age reports that the Summer of 2009 is going to be “cruel.” It reminds me of Bananarama.

    According to

    Attack ads have been on the rise for the past year, but comparisons are getting sharper, responses are growing testier, and an increasing number of ad battles are ending up in court. Just don’t expect a letup, because they’re also working.

    If you decide to run an attack ad, Ad Age has provided helpful tips to keep agencies out of trouble. (It’s almost as if Ad Age is egging on agencies for a Summer of heated battles to alleviate boredom…”Here! Take this knife!” Hmm.)

    However, it’s good advice…Sara Lee filed suit against Kraft Foods last week over taste test ads between Oscar Mayer and Sara Lee’s Ball Park Franks. According to Sara Lee, Ball Park Franks have suffered a blow from which they will never recover. (Now THAT’s advertising!) Unfortunately for Sara Lee’s legal team, Ball Park is outselling Oscar Mayer in grocery stores nationwide. My guess is that this case will be over before it starts. (Please keep in mind that I am not a legal analyst.)

    Luckily, Advertising Age does have access to a legal team, and below are there tips to stay out of trouble. However, I have also embellished on their recommendations:

    1. Don’t name your competitor
    Just make it brutally obvious who they are.

    2. Stay positive
    You could say “You’ll save money at Joe’s coffee.” Or you could be honest, “One cup at Bobs place, or a weeks worth at Joe’s. You decide.

    3. Back it up with science
    Numbers are very useful for making your point. Manipulate.

    4. Have a contingency plan
    If you get sued, release the most offensive spot. They’ve already sued, what’s next, name calling?

    5. Don’t steal your competitor’s claims.
    As if! Belittle their claims, cast them in false light, but don’t steal them.

    Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Account Coordinator. His passion is writing. If you would like to get in touch with Jeff, please leave a reply or follow the links: or

    Priceless My Ass

    The newest “Priceless” ad shows a young father and his son doing what young father’s and sons do: spending quality time together. It begins with the boy filling up a water glass for his father (no bottled water here) and walks through how the boy helps his father become a better man by showing him how to save the environment by purchasing low-wattage light bulbs and choosing paper over plastic at the grocery store.

    Honestly, I have always enjoyed the ads, (and the parodies) feeling that the campaign was well thought-out and made an impact. Until now.

    This is a picture of my actual credit card letter that came in the mail prior to President Obama’s “reform” of the industry.

    But it doesn’t matter anyway…the whole reform is a scam:

    So notwithstanding today’s Obama ballyhoo, companies can and will continue to charge basic rates up to 30 %. Congress could have regulated interest rates limiting them to a few points above prime. But Obama and the Democrats (and, of course, the Republicans almost all of who take contributions from credit card companies) hypocritically caved in.

    Raising Your Family With Good Moral Values: Priceless. For Everything Else, There’s Visa/Master Card.

    Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Coordinator. His passion is writing, contributing to BMA as well as freelancing. He’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment or follow the links: or

    When The Going Gets Tough, Go Guerrilla


    If you’re anything like me, “change” is a word that has been overused of late. Well, unfortunately, it’s going to happen again: Change. Change. CHANGE!

    Change the way you think. Change the way you act. Look at your client from another angle. Ask someone else what they see. Don’t rely on what you think you know, go and find out what others know. 

    Our industry beat the phrase, “Think Outside the Box” into the ground, but now-really-it’s time to think outside the box. If you wait for your clients to come to you, it’s too late…trust me, others have great ideas, just like you do. The only difference is that they’re acting on theirs. So, Refresh. Renew. Revitalize. Do something…something is always better than nothing.

    Try Guerrilla! It’s relatively inexpensive. You can target geographically. It’s tactical. It makes a splash. It may get you in trouble, but it gets the message out…and PR is PR, right?

    Granted, it won’t be perfect for every client, but you have at least one that would benefit. Automotive? Entertainment? Packaged Goods? Think it’s not for your clients? Think again: MSN, Yahoo, Carmex, Disney, Activision, CBS, TBS, New Balance, Absolut, AT&T, New York Sports Clubs, Pepsi, and tons of new movie releases have all recently used some form of poster advertising.

    You’re there because you’re creative. So, be creative.

    Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Coordinator. His passion is writing, contributing to BMA as well as freelancing. He’d love to hear from you: or

    Things We Lost in the Downturn

    unemployedNo more free coffee, cut-backs on car service, showing up on time, working eight hour days. Instituting a client-centric focus. The economy has been especially tough on agencies and media companies–industries known for creative problem-solving and critical foresight–causing them to remove perks associated with working in the industry.

    Condé Nast has stopped tuition reimbursement. MPG asked their employees to work the same amount of hours as their clients. Summer hours are a thing of the past at Arnold. The emphasis on work-life benefits has ended in the face of dismal economic forecasts, according to AdAge.

    “Employers are asking employees to step up and be flexible in order to preserve their jobs and maintain the company’s ability to continue,” said Fred Crandall, senior consultant at Watson Wyatt in Chicago. “This type of belt-tightening is taking place across corporate America.”

    MPG even believes that showing up to work earlier, “…could give MPG an edge over media-agency peers.” Hmm.

    This undoubtedly leaves many to wonder: “Was I laid off so that (insert company name here) could maintain free coffee and half-day Fridays?”

    Jeff Louis is a Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Coordinator. His passion is writing, contributing to BMA as well as freelancing. He’d love to hear from you: or on twitter @jlo0312.

    AdWeek’s Fluffy State of the Industry

    Have you ever diligently searched for some information, or at least several sources, and come up empty handed? Happens to me all the time…I’ll get a “great” idea and try to substantiate it, only to find that there is no accessible data. It is frustrating and a bit degrading. Recently, I wanted some hard numbers on the state of the Ad Industry, and wasn’t coming up with much besides geusstimates and hype: I wanted data on damage done to date; total layoffs, shops that closed, account spending cuts, etc.

    Enter AdWeek. Usually a good source; not one that I would consider as a supplier of inane (lacking sense, significance, void) information. AdWeek usually does a decent job covering the industry, and when I saw a piece done by Mark Dolliver, “How Will Downturn Impact Advertising?” I almost peed in my pants. Finally! I excitedly dug in, expecting some hard-hitting insights from a professional publication and journalist that would leave me much better for reading it.


    Wrong! Basically, the article is an opinion-based couple of paragraphs derived from a survey completed by approximately 4500 LinkedIn users. The headline is catchy, and Mr. Dolliver’s hook is that “If the Recession doesn’t kill advertising, it could make it stronger.” There were no answers, just opinion. No data, just speculation. No scientific study…just a poll that is sketchy with vague answer choices …one being, “Less Advertising.”

    What in the hell does “less advertising” mean? Less revenue? Physically fewer ads? With spot costs declining, couldn’t we have more advertising? If we’re basing “less” on volume, the rapid unraveling of the print industry would definitely mean “less advertising.”

    Stay tuned…as soon as the hard facts come in, I’ll get back to you.

    Jeff Louis is a Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Coordinator. His passion is writing, contributing to BMA as well as freelancing.
    He’d love to hear from you: or on twitter @jlo0312.